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VIENNA, VA -- The U.S. Apple Association praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture's announced intended purchases of apples and apple products. The $18.6 million overall apples and apple products buy was first announced by the Obama Administration in November 2009, but amounts tentatively allotted for each category were revealed in mid-January.

"This is good news for both consumers and apple growers," Mark Seetin, USAppleRs director of regulatory and industry affairs, said in a Jan. 15 press release. "The American apple industry vigorously supports USDA's plans to purchase a wide variety of apples and apple products. This significant buy means plenty of tasty and nutritious apples and apple products for consumers in federal feeding programs, such as the National School Lunch Program."

The amount of apples and apple products identified so far, and the estimated value of each: fresh apples 68,000 cases, $1.06 million; apple juice 312,625 cases, $3.08 million; apple juice 205,000 cases, $2.02 million; canned apple slices 77,520 cases, $1.70 million; apple sauce 142,272 cases, $2.4 million; bonus buy share of fresh cut (4.6 million total), $1 million. Total to date: $11.26 million.

USApple and apple industry leaders worked extensively over the past year to encourage USDA to make apple purchases. The specific apples and apple products selected for purchase were requested by individual school districts from across the country.

Mr. Seetin added that research on apples and health suggests that regular apple consumption may aid in preventing cancer, heart disease, memory impairment and other health complications.